The "Zotten van Geel" (Fools of Geel) have had quite the football history already. The last couple of years there seems to be more consistency in the team, but are they ready for a new peak period as they had in first division before?
Geel obviously is a football crazy city. With Olympia Gheel, Beekhoek Sport Gheel, Red Star Football Club Larum Gheel (later refounded as Larum Sport Geel and again later on as Football Club Larum Geel), Stella Steelen Gheel, White Star Winkelom Gheel, Football Club Hei-Sport Gheel (later founded again as Hei Sport Gheel and later on again as Heisport Geel), Geelse Verstandhouding, Geelsche Sportkring, Gemeentepersoneel Geel, Football Club Bell Telefoon Geel, Football Club Punt Geel, Scheidsrechtervereniging Van Geel En Omstreken, Sport en Atletiek Vereniging Sinte-Dymphna Geel, Football Club Sportvrienden Elsum (later on refounded as Football Club Elsum Geel), Football Club Alberta Geel, Nethegalm Geel (again started as Football Club Nethegalm Hadschodt Geel), Kapel Sport Geel and Bel Sport Geel we can definitely say there was a hell of a lot of interest in football. Although most have disappeared, some are still active.
But the real team in Geel is without any doubt Football Club Verbroedering Flandria Gheel. The team was created as a merger in 1921. The original clubs - Football Club Flandria and Gheel Sport - already started their activities in 1912 and 1919. After having played in a local FA in the Campines, the team joined the Belgian FA in 1924. That same moment, the name was changed into Football Club Verbroedering Gheel. Before the club managed to reach the national divisions, they also absorbed FC Kievermont in 1932. Seven years later a first promotion to the national leagues followed, back then third division.
Second division came in 1942, but after the war the "Zotten" fell back a bit. In 1962 they were back in the national leagues (fourth division). But the real successes would come from the 80s onwards. In 1985 the team promoted to second division and in 1999 their absolute peak was a promotion to first division. That same year, Geel merged with KFC Herentals. However, the name remained KFC Verbroedering Geel (which they had since 1960). But 1999 would turn out to be a year with huge consequences. In 2000 they already fell back to second division. Even more so, in 2006 they were convicted of bribery and had to start again in third division. They did come back to second division, but in 2008 KFC Verbroedering Geel folded. Their stadium De Leunen wouldn't be empty for long, because the neighbours from Meerhout would offer a solution to the football problem in Geel.
In that village, Meerhoutse Verstandhouding was the most recent addition, but most teams in this just as football crazy village were founded in the 30s. Football Club Rooden Band Meerhout, Vlug En Vrij Meerhout, Sport Na Arbeid Meerhout, Lil Sport, Berg En Dal Meerhout, Hezemeer Sport Meerhout, Football Club Meerhout Sport and Gebergt Sport Meerhout followed the example of pioneer Jeugd en Vreugd Meerhout. Jeugd en Vreugd already ceased to exist in the 20s, and Gebergt Sport followed soon after. But all of the other clubs would give up their matricule number around 1936 to unofficially merge with FC Meerhout Sport. That merger would have to wait until 1960 to have their best year ever, by promoting to the top regional league.
Football Club Hand In Hand Meerhout however started in 1934 and managed to survive the round of mergers in the 30s. Shortly after being founded, the name was changed into Hand In Hand Weversberg-Meerhout, but they would always be known as FC HIH Meerhout. Only in 1966, the name would officially change due to a merger with FC Meerhout Sport: Football Club Verbroedering Meerhout was born. The new merger would immediately promote to the national leagues in 1967. They stayed there until 1987, after which relegation followed. In 1997, Verbroedering Meerhout returned and the way up began. In 2006, the team promoted to third division. It was for one year only, but then in 2008 the Geel thing happened: Verbroedering Meerhout decided to change their name into Verbroedering Geel Meerhout and moved to De Leunen.
That proved to be a success, as in 2010 the team promoted to third division again. But the rise continued: in 2013, second division was reached. That year, a last name change happened as well to the current Allemaal Samen Verbroedering Geel. Along the years, they were put in the first amateur division (third level) after the new competition structure and relegated to the second amateur division. In 2020 they weren't given a license for national football and ASV Geel had to go back to the top regional league. That's where they play now and it looks like they're on their way back to the national divisions.
When De Leunen was built exactly, is not known to us. We suspect KFC Verbroedering Geel has always played at that location and the stadium was renewed in the 80s or 90s to what it is now. It is very exceptional there is one section which is "lost" in a used stadium. That stand is already at a standstill since five years now. The team started expanding the stadium not long before 2017 but due to financial struggles and license (environmental licenses) problems the construction was stopped. End of 2021, a solution seemed to have popped up and construction would be continued any time soon.
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EDIT: The team has reached out and let us know they have been playing there (including legacy KFC Verbroedering Geel) since the early 90s after moving out of their original stadium closer to the city center. That old stadium is completely gone now.
The new section under construction was put on hold due to spatial planning in the city of Geel which wasn't adequate to the multifunctionality of the building. Anyways, the further development is bound to happen including extra shops, offices and a hotel.